Kirby v. Fresno (Local Ban on Medical Marijuana Cultivation)
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California has joined with the law firm of Henry G. Wykowski & Associates in challenging a Fresno County ban on the cultivation and storage of medical marijuana in the California Supreme Court. The ban is inconsistent with California’s 1996 voter-approved Compassionate Use Act, which allows seriously ill patients and caregivers to grow medical marijuana, and also with more recent legislation.
Wykowski & Associates filed the lawsuit in 2014 in Fresno County Superior Court on behalf of 73-year old patient Diana Kirby, arguing that the ordinance is invalid because it is pre-empted by state laws. After the superior court dismissed the suit, the Court of Appeal reversed on the ground that violation of the ban by qualified patients could not be punished criminally, but otherwise upheld most of the ban. We have asked the California Supreme Court to review that decision.
Currently any Fresno resident in violation of the ordinance can face steep fines, destruction of their medical marijuana, and potentially even jail time.
On Feb. 17, 2016, the California Supreme Court denied review.
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California is also involved in a similar case, Byrd v. Fresno.